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Health Studies

Lecture 1-Childhood The Very Idea of Childhood  In this lecture I will 1) Define childhood versus infancy 2) Describe the natural history of childhood 3) Talk about where we are now, globally with respect to childhood 4) How this impacts the global health of children Childhood as a cultural Artifact  Unlike infancy, childhood is a social/cultural artifact  Infancy is a biologically driven event with a genetically timed duration  Childhood is a different story, it can be loner or shorter depending upon several factors. The Natural History of Childhood  Neil Postman: The Disappearence of Childhood  Greeks had no real world for “child” in the ancient world. They did invent schooling, but children’s lives were precarious. a) Plato speaks of disciplining children through “Threats and blows, like a piece of warped wood” (Protagoras)  Little concept of “child” and a category separate from “adult” in the middle ages. The Ancient World What constitutes childhood as a concept?  Neil Postman (The Disappearance of Childhood):  The concept of SHAME  Children are defined as a class of people who must be sheltered from adult secrets  Specifically, sexual secrets  This connects to the general concept of children as a group that requires Special Protection from adults Roman Law: Protection  Rome, A.D. 374: a) Law forbidding infanticide (exposure)  Until then, the practice was acceptable, f the child was deformed, female or in some other way undesirable  Often used as a form of retroactive birth control (before the advent of orphanages) The Middle Ages  Fall of the Roman Empire to the “barbarians”  Postman points out 4 points regarding the middle ages and the concept of the child : A) Literacy disappears B) Pedagogy declines C) Shame disappears D) Childhood disappears Disappearance of Childhood  Literacy didn’t completely disappear  Social Literacy disappeared for @1000 years.  Craft literacy remained (monks and noblemen, scribes)  Reading speed, even among the literate, diminished significantly (re: calligraphic fonts made letters “opaque”. Implications of Illiteracy  As a result, all business affairs were conducted aurally  All social interactions were face to face  Entertainment was aural (minstrels)  Knowledge acquired by EAR  All was talk and song Implications of Childhood  Oral language develops must faster than written literacy  Childhood shrank down to the early years  If you could “speak the king’s English,” you were an adult  Adult at age 7  In a literate world, children must become adults through learning to read, as there are mysteries and secrets Implications (illustrated by Brueghel)  No culture of shame separating adults from children  Catholic church deemed age 7 to be when one can tell between right and wrong  The word “child” expressed kinship instead of age  No primary schools  Not much of a concept of pedagogy, as the Romans or Greeks had What do Breughel paintings show?  Postman argues that they show:  Unwillingness to hide away from children  Absence of general civility (notwithstanding that they were pious and religios)  Didn’t nhave the same concept of private space as we do  Note replled by human behaviors and odors  Not ashamed of bodily functions  No evidence of toilet training for children Medieval Childhood sexuality  No evidence that children were considered off limits  Girls were married off and pregnant and very young ages by today’s standards  No sense of “sexual interference” being wrong or immoral Parenting in the Middle Ages  High rate of infant mortality  Parents did not/could not have the same level of emotional commitment as us..  Children not mentioned in wills until the 14 century  However, high indant mortality cant be the only reason for lack of childhood The Renaissance th th  Roughly the 14 -16 centuries  The advent of the printing press  Literate revolution across the world.  Suddenly, one has to spend some time learning, whilst one matures, in order to take part fully in human commerce. How did technology change childhood?  Harold Innis (precursor to Marshall McLuhan)  Innis argued that there are two kinds of media : a)Time binding media: written, made to last b) space binding media: oral, now, radio etc. Three Effects of Media and Technology  Technologies alter the structure of interests  Alter the structure of symbols  Alter the nature of community a)McLuhan, Olson and others have argued that the advent of print literacy changed structure of our thought “modern mad traded an ear for an eye  Gutenberg Galaxy ...[I]f a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular cul
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